Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Self care


I recently came across the quote “Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.” I can’t remember where I read it, and I’m sorry that I’m not quoting the author here.  (If you know of the author, please note it in the blog comments below.) There is also a story of riding on an airplane that talks about self-care. If you don’t put on your own oxygen mask first, you can’t save anyone else’s life. That’s a bad quote of the story, I know, but it’s early. I’m writing this at 4 am.

4 am doesn’t really seem like a good example of self-care, does it? Actually, getting up early is one of my favorite ways to practice self-care. In the morning, I can take the time to get to the things I love like writing/journaling, drinking coffee, working on this blog or YouTube videos (although lately lighting has been a big problem for filming in the morning), and of course planning.

4 am has become my favorite me time. I never thought this would be the case, but I love watching the news in the morning, watching the sun come up, sometimes leaving the drapes closed and hiding out from the world.

The holidays are a great time to practice me time. It’s the time when most of us need it the most. Self-care time can be just a quick five minutes between baking or running between malls and holiday parties.  I know if I don’t take downtime I will burn out very quickly this time of year. I’m not one that’s enjoying holiday shopping this year. I’m not sure why because I used to really love to shop, but lately the crowds are making me edgy and I can’t wait to get home to the quiet.

What about you? How do you practice self-care?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Courage


Some define courage as the ability to face your fears and do it anyway. Do you ever wonder how some people get everything done and seem to have it all?  I personally do not believe that “having it all” exists. I believe it’s an illusion. It’s a goal a lot of us strive for and if we don’t make it—and oftentimes it was practically impossible to make it in the first place—then we beat ourselves up for it.
Why do we do that? I think, especially women, we are people pleasers. We try to make everyone happy and who gets cut when we run out of time? Ourselves. It’s like that with me and my writing. I do everything under the sun trying to make everyone happy and by the time I’m done I’m exhausted and my writing suffers.
So what do we do about it? The holidays are probably the worst time to try to enact a new routine, but we can take this time to think about 2018 that is just around the corner. (Yikes!) Why not write out a list of goals for your self care in the upcoming year instead of or in addition to your other goals? And if you can’t find time to squeeze in the self care after all the other things you have to accomplish why not try to move the self care to the top or even to a higher priority for yourself? I know that sounds easier said than done, right?
It will likely feel awkward at first. Very awkward. I mean, taking care of ourselves before we do the dishes? It’s unheard of! But I promise you, the sky will not fall if you wait a couple of hours to clean up the kitchen.   

I’m not perfect with self care either. The minute it starts to feel awkward, I usually end up doing all my to dos first again and forget myself. But it’s a process. It takes time and sometimes the ability to face ourselves with gratitude and no self judgement can be a definition of courage.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How to combat holiday stress, #selfcare




The holidays can be a magical time of year, but for many they are pretty difficult. Here are my five tips to get through these times with minimum stress:

1.     Make a list. Maybe it’s a huge list. Just write down everything you need to do to get ready. Then break it down in steps. When I’m writing a novel if I look at it as one huge book, I’m immediately stressed and I lose confidence in my ability to get the job done. If I break it down into bullet points, taking it in small chunks and only focusing on each chuck that I’m currently working on, I keep the stress monsters at bay. This method works with holiday tasks too.
2.     If finances are a source of stress, ask yourself what’s most important. I’m sure your family and friends would much rather have your time with them than any gifts you could buy them. Think about it. Ask them. You’ll be surprised in the simplicity of their answers.
3.     Take care of yourself. This week has been stressful for me. (See? I’m even victim of
not listening to my own advice!) Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings gave me a stomachache for two days. I’ve decided to eat light for a few days. Fruits, veggies, and yogurt. I’m starting to feel better and I feel confident that I’ve eaten healthy.
4.     Journal about your feelings. Oftentimes when I’m journaling I work out a problem I’m having just by writing it out. Try it. It may surprise you. (And it’s fun to pick out a pretty journal to record all your thoughts in.)
5.     Be grateful. Write down three things you’re thankful for right now in this moment. You might think they’re insignificant, but don’t judge yourself. Just write. Do this every morning upon first waking up. It will literally change your outlook on life.

The holidays can be tough. Remember, you can’t take care of others without first taking care of yourself. Be good to yourself. And remember to be mindful of the wonderful, little, simple pleasures in life.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving holiday

Image result for thanksgivingI love Thanksgiving. It's a time to take things down a notch for me.  I know a lot of you ramp things up this time of year, but for us it's a sit back and just relax, eat good food, of course, and just enjoy one another's company.  We don't do the Black Friday thing. I'd so much rather shop online and avoid the mobs. If I want to go out, I'd rather go out to lunch or just go for coffee or something simple. Keep me out of the big department stores, thank you. 


Maybe I've grown old. I used to never stop. I did Black Friday every year. Not anymore. I don't know what happened, just not into it anymore. Keep it simple. Quiet. Peaceful. 

What are you doing for the holidays?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

New video up on YouTube


I posted a new video on the booksigning yesterday.  A huge thank you to everyone who came out and bought my book!  You guys are the best and I appreciate each and every one of you!

Don't forget, if you like my videos and want to keep up with all things writing and book related, just click subscribe on my channel! 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

2018 book schedule and things


My goal for next year is to get four books written. My publishing goals, however, are a bit different.  I’ve made a release schedule for one book per quarter, but sometimes that schedule has to change due to editors own schedules, cover artist schedules, developmental editor schedules, etc. Plus there are the add, trying for a Bookbub, etc. You never know when that could happen. For example, if I get a Bookbub on one of my historical books, and I’m currently releasing books in my contemporary series, I may then need to switch it up and release another historical quickly in order to maintain that momentum.
So it all depends on first and foremost, my ability to create content then other players’ schedules.  Writing goals need to be fluid to allow for change.  All the author can do is hope not to annoy readers, and keep attracting new readers. 
I’m signing books today at the Scriba Fall Festival. I’m thinking maybe I’ll do another YouTube video on that. Depends on where they place my booth and how crowded it is.  If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi!
’m working on a new writing schedule. The simplest part of this schedule is to write everyday. I’m trying to get 2,500 words per day written, but if I get 1,000 everyday I’ll be happy. I created a schedule that allows only 1,000 words per day to reach my goals.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

I set some goals


I have a confession to make. My husband helps me stay on track with my writing. If it wasn’t for him, I’d be lost with self-publishing.  Correction: if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be self-publishing at all.  In every sense of the word, you could say he was my designer, formatter, developmental editor, everything.

So we were talking on the way to the city the other day. I told him I need to write at least four books next year. Sure I’d love to write more but with the craziness of life at the moment, four is a good start for me right now.  Maybe not always but right now.
So we were breaking down how long it would take for me to write the four books. This is where I struggle. This is where I have not take of the creativity hat and put on the business hat. Four books is doable if I’m smart about it. I need to break it down how many words I need to write per day to accomplish this. Based on the size of the books, I need to write about 1000 words per day. That’s about an hour a day for me. Granted, I don’t always put out 1000 words per hour, but I do on the average so that’s a good benchmark.

So yeah, making goals is exciting and a whole lot less intimidating when I break it down in small chunks.